ASPECTS OF THE BAPTIST PRESENCE IN PEMBROKESHIRE This article was originally presented as a lecture to the Society in March 1986, and its subject will be considered under the headings of Arrival; Advance; Architecture and Affirmations. Arrival The first known Baptist churches in Pembrokeshire were those of Cilfowyr and its unincorporated branch at Abercych, both founded in 1704. No seventeenth century churches are officially recognised, though Molleston English Baptist Church is said to have been formed in 1667, a year prior to the Rhydwilym foundation1. Other factors afford strong circumstantial evidence for the presence of Baptists in the county prior to the eighteenth century, principally the activity and witness of Puritan preachers, including evidence of Puritan lecturers in Haverfordwest, and their forbidding by a Bishop of St. Davids. Recently a strong reaction against the reluctance to equate Baptists with Anabaptists has set in. Six main groups are identified on the continent, all practising re-baptism, and some marked by extreme political, revolutionary and religious tendencies. Anabaptist martyrology and hymnology are now being restudied. Anabaptist activity spread to England during the reign of Henry VIII (150947), who in a proclamation denounced the 'False opinions of the Anabaptists and Sacramentarians (followers of Zwingli).' Latimer in one of his sermons refers to the spread of erroneous opinion and mentions the burning of Anabaptists in divers towns, while one of the aims of the Pilgrimage of Grace revolt in 1536-37 was 'the destruction of the heresies of Luther, Wycliffe. and Anabaptists be annihilated and destroyed.' One source suggests that there were Anabaptists in England as early as 15342, yet we do not seem to have evidence of their activity in Pembrokeshire. There were, however, trading contacts between Haverfordwest, Tenby, and the port of Bristol about 1600, the latter town being a strong centre of dissent. Also during the second Civil War of 1648 Parliamentary troops besieged Pembroke, and many of Cromwell's soldiers were evangelists. Though there were no Baptist churches in Pembrokeshire in the early seventeenth century, the evidence points to the presence of dissenters in the county towards the end of this period. This evidence is presented most clearly in the 'Old Book' (1689) of Rhydwilym Baptist Church, which begins with 'a confession of faith of the Churches of Christ that meet sometimes in ye severall countyes of Carm. Pemb. and Cardigan which are commonly (tho' unjustly) called Anabaptists'. The earliest baptisms recorded date from 1667 and from the beginning include Pembrokeshire men and women, though this first Baptist congregation in the area represented the three counties forming present-day Dyfed3. Despite the persecution of dissenters then raging, the Rhydwilym Church was formally incorporated on 12 July 1668, and in 1689 had 133 members of whom fifty-nine came from nineteen different Pembrokeshire parishes. The first minister was William Jones of Llanglydwen, formerly vicar of Cilmaenllwyd until ejected from his living in 1660-62. Whilst gaoled at Carmarthen for contravening the Clarendon Code he became a Baptist, and on his release he travelled to Olchon on the Herefordshire border to be baptised in 1666. Later, when caught preaching in a valley in Pembrokeshire he was incarcerated at Haverfordwest gaol, having first arranged the next meeting. On the day